HIDE/SEEK Difference and Desire in American Portraiture
The first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in modern American portraiture, HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture presents new perspectives on American art, the nature of modern portraiture, and the multifaceted role that sexuality and gender have played in modern art. Featuring works by some of the most important figures in modern and contemporary art, HIDE/SEEK explores the role that sexual identity has played in cultural expressions through more than a hundred works in a range of media.
From early modern works by realist painters to contemporary conceptual works, HIDE/SEEK follows the thread of often coded expressions of sexual identity, pointing out connections between stylistic innovation and marginalization, social history and art history. The works on view range from early twentieth-century paintings in which artists developed visual codes and other strategies to veil sexual themes, to works by artists responding to the Stonewall riots of 1969 and the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and beyond. That so many of the artists in this exhibition, from Eakins to Warhol, are touchstones in the history of American art is clear evidence that exchange among people of differing sexualities has been the rule, not the exception, in American culture. HIDE/SEEK tells a story of artistic and cultural creativity that has been hidden in plain sight for the last century.
HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture was originally organized by the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and has been reorganized by the Brooklyn Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum. The original presentation was co-curated by David C. Ward, National Portrait Gallery, and Jonathan D. Katz, director of the doctoral program in visual studies at the State University of New York in Buffalo. The Brooklyn Museum presentation is coordinated by Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Project Curator.